On this day September 14, 1960

At a conference held in Baghdad, the governments of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela founded OPEC to help unify and coordinate their petroleum policies.

OPEC headquarters in Vienna

OPEC in Vienna

Venezuela was the first country to move towards the establishment of OPEC in the 1960’s by approaching Iran, Gabon, United Kingdom, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1949, suggesting that they exchange views and explore avenues for regular and closer communication among petroleum-producing nations.

In 10-14 September 1960, at the initiative of the Venezuelan Energy and Mines minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo and the Saudi Arabian Energy and Mines minister Abdullah al-Tariki, the governments of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela met in Baghdad to discuss ways to increase the price of the crude oil produced by their respective countries.

OPEC was founded in Baghdad, triggered by a 1960 law instituted by American President Dwight Eisenhower that forced quotas on Venezuelan and Persian Gulf oil imports in favor of the Canadian and Mexican oil industries. Eisenhower cited national security, land access to energy supplies, at times of war.

Today the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is a cartel of twelve countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings among the oil ministers of its Member Countries.

Indonesia withdrew its membership in OPEC in 2008 after it became a net importer of oil, but stated it would likely return if it became a net exporter in the world again. The United States was a member during its formal occupation of Iraq via the Coalition Provisional Authority.

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